When to talk, and when not to
Borys Wrzesnewskyj is wrong. I don't just mean wrong about what he supposedly said to CanWest, I mean wrong even in his clarifying press release (ht:Akin):
“What I did say, however, is that the legislation surrounding our banned list of terrorist organizations must be evaluated to ensure our role as mediator is not compromised. Currently, the legislation forbids Canada from having any discussions with those on the list, and I believe this is not the way to achieve peace.
“Canada must be a partner in any efforts by the international community to bring peace and stability to the region, and we can not play that role if we are shackled by this legislation which forbids us from even speaking to those groups on our list. Discussion, negotiation and diplomacy are paramount to a lasting peace.”
From that CanWest article, here's a bit more of his rationale for this position:
He likened the situation in the Middle East to that of Northern Ireland, where "if there wasn't the possibility for London to negotiate with the IRA, you'd still have bombings."
"Hezbollah has a political wing. They have members of parliament. They have two Cabinet ministers. You want to encourage politicians in this military organization so that the centre of gravity shifts to them."
Sounds reasonable, right? I mean, the old saw about making peace with your enemies, not your friends is actually true. If you can't talk with your enemies, how will you ever make peace with them?
Well, the Phantom Observer makes a good start chipping away at Borys' argument by tackling the IRA angle:
The big problem with Borys’s analogy, of course, is that the IRA never denied that Britain had a right to exist, never claimed that England was their territory.
And that's actually symptomatic of an even bigger problem for Borys and all those who think like him: Hezbollah doesn't want to achieve peace through negotiation. The only peace they're interested in is one resulting from the destruction of their enemy.
"I am against any reconciliation with Israel. I do not even recognize the presence of a state that is called "Israel." I consider its presence both unjust and unlawful. That is why if Lebanon concludes a peace agreement with Israel and brings that accord to the Parliament our deputies will reject it; Hizballah refuses any conciliation with Israel in principle."
I'm all for talking with your enemies - once they're ready to talk. Sometimes that requires a bit of aggressive persuasion. Until Nasrallah and his band of thugs are interested in talking about a lasting peace - not a strategic pause - we shouldn't grant them any legitimacy whatsoever.